If the ego had an engine, its fuel would be fear. Trepidation isn’t all bad, but it certainly has its time and place. Fear can render us quivering and useless, or motivate us toward change. In the study of Zen, we learn how to not only overcome our fears, but to become fearless. This is called the Lion’s Roar of Zazen.

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.

~ Buddha

The lion is the living embodiment of self-possessed power. This animal has dominion over all he sees as well as the courage, speed, and might to attain all he desires. His deportment is regal and calm, though, never bullying and neither shrinking. The metaphor of the lion is used to describe how one overcomes fear in the Majjhima Nikaya, a Collection of Middle Length Discourses on Buddha’s teachings, and they are immaculate at describing the fears most of us face. Many Zen teachers describe how to become regal and fearless in their discourses as well.

Fear of the Loss of Life

Zen master, D.T. Suzuki says that fear of the loss of body is usually what we must overcome first. Following this, an internal consciousness becomes aware that we are threatening the slated, well-accepted notion of being merely corporeal, and we ‘think’ we are frightened. Suzuki says we needn’t look any further than the bodily sensations that arise when we simply ponder fearfulness. An empty feeling in the lower abdomen ensues, there is an immobility at the base of the tongue, and our breathing becomes restricted. If we were to remove these sensations, though, fear becomes a meaningless thing.

Suzuki attests that according to Zazen, we aim to keep a lower abdomen full of power, the breathing always uniform, the heart beat tranquil, and the muscles of the whole body resilient so that if emotions like fear arise, they can easily be encountered and dismissed.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasures you seek.

~ Joseph Campbell

Fear of the Loss of ‘Self’

Some fear is understandable, even – such as when we realize we must face a spiritual death in order to progress on our path. Although we may long to richer higher levels of consciousness, we aren’t always so keen to let go of the habits and crutches that have propped up our current level of awareness. As the Sufi poet Rumi once said, “No one will find his way to the Court of Magnificence until he is annihilated.”

Other types of fear make us meek and fallible. Our consciousness easily wavers, and we cannot attain Mu, or a state of Zen, let alone get on with our daily activities.  It is only by cultivating the 4 Zen States of Mind that we can ‘fill our abdomens’ with power and roar like a lion with fearlessness.

4 Zen States of Mind

  1. Shoshin or “Beginner’s Mind” (初心) is the first stage in cultivating fearlessness. Think of a time when you were excited and eager to start a new endeavor. There might have been unknowns, but you were brimming with glee over trying something new. This is the type of mind we want to cultivate with all aspects of life. Instead of begin nervous or fearful, we can aim to be eager and open, accepting all that comes our way. In order to approach life from the beginner’s mind we need to let of preconceived notions, and be optimistic. If you’ve been able to have this feeling with one thing you’ve done in life, you can translate that feeling to other areas also.
  2. Fudoushin (不動心) means you have an “Immovable Mind.” It doesn’t mean you are stubborn, but fudoushin does translate to being determined in the face of obstacles. Does a lion run away from present danger? Hardly. The animal doesn’t get angry or judgmental about obstacles either. He is peaceful like the eye of the storm until he is upon his prey. If you can develop fudoushin when you are under stress, you will be unstoppable in life.
  3. Mushin (無心) or “Without Mind.” This is a similar philosophy to the Chinese Taoist idea of wei wuwei. When we are ‘in the zone’ working on a great masterpiece or doing something we love, we’ve likely already experienced the state of mushin. When we are empty of thoughts, yet moving and acting purely in the present moment, without fear, anger, ego, or other emotion, we are a force to be reckoned with. By developing equanimity and learning how to focus to the point of no-thought, we can cultivate mushin.
  4. The last of the four states of Zen Mind is called Zanshin (残心) which literally translates to “Remaining Mind.” This state of mind contains two precise elements. It means you are both relaxed and keenly aware of your surroundings. This is the state that martial artists aim to be in so that they can react at any moment to anything that comes their way. By maintaining relaxed alertness fear cannot sway you, even in the face of a frightening opponent.

Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.

~ Salvador Dali

Fear of Suffering

The Buddha taught that self-grasping and ignorance are the root of all remaining fears. Healthy fears aside, our tendency to try to avoid suffering – the fear of failure, heartbreak, being trapped, being lost, etc. are all caused by a single root – and arise from the mind. In Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, it is said that the Buddha articulated, “The source of all our fear comes from our own uncontrolled minds or “delusions.””

In order to overcome this root cause of fear, the Buddha, and Zen masters alike, teach to strive for no-self or emptiness. This doesn’t mean a nihilistic view of life is adopted. Friedrich Nietzsche accused Buddhism of being existentialist, but the Buddha taught us to seek the Middle Way between the mundane and the spiritual, seeing objects as real but dependently originated, not-self and unsatisfactory. Instead of seeing all things as pointless and empty, we see mundane life as meaningless but recognize spiritual goals as meaningful.

As the Zen master, Sojo has said, “Heaven and earth and I are of the same root, the ten-thousand things and I are of one substance.”

After all, even once the Buddha gave up all his worldly possessions he realized he was no closer to achieving Nirvana. He discovered that exaggerated asceticism was not required to attain enlightenment.

By learning how to work through these fears, we can achieve the ‘lion’s roar’ of full realization.

This article was originally posted on The Mind Unleashed.

Photo credits: Conscious Reminder

On the surface, forgiving your parents (or anyone for that matter) may seem insignificant but forgiving your mother or father is actually the best thing you can do for the quality of your life. Even low-grade parental blame and resentment perpetuate a cycle of emotional pain and suffering that can negatively affect your adult relationships, finances, and overall wellbeing, ultimately preventing the love, abundance and happiness you desire and deserve.

If you have no comparison, you might not notice the amount of energy it takes to hold onto an emotional wound or even a small grudge, but holding onto anger, resentment or any form of hostility requires a tremendous amount of life force energy and this energy is non-refundable. Decades of anger and resentment can cut years off your life, and you wouldn’t even know it. Think of it like throwing hundred dollar bills into the toilet each day, except life force energy is infinitely more valuable than all the money in the world.

The Cycle of Suffering

Without healing our childhood wounds and subsequently forgiving our parents, we stay emotionally stuck at the age of our earliest wounds, and because this causes us to repeat the cycle of suffering, we keep experiencing an adult version of our childhood wounds.

For instance, let’s say you haven’t forgiven your mom for missing your tenth birthday or healed the resulting feelings of abandonment; whenever this issue is triggered by a current day experience (ex: someone forgets to call you), the original emotional wound is activated and you drop into an unconscious reaction. For all intents and purposes, you become your wounded ten-year-old self, and because you feel the same pain you felt then, you react by lashing out or shutting down.

Because an emotional reaction is an automatic response to an unhealed wound, there is little or no control over emotions or behavior, and this dynamic can result in a series of current day relationship issues. Year after year, the cumulative effect of emotional reactions can destroy the quality of our most important relationships.

Law of Attraction

According to the Law of Attraction, we unconsciously attract people who trigger our emotional wounds, and this is why a person with abandonment issues attracts potential partners who have commitment fears; not as punishment or karma but rather because our higher selves want us to heal and will use every opportunity to bring our wounds to the forefront. Unfortunately, this means that unhealed emotional wounds can prevent you from meeting your ideal partner or soul mate, and even if you do find each other, the turbulent nature of emotional wounds is known to sabotage even the most ideal partnership.

Blame Perpetuates Pain

Blaming your parents not only keeps the wound alive, it also tells your subconscious mind that your parents currently have power over you or your life, and, therefore, blame programs you for disempowerment. Like a virus, this dynamic can spread to every facet of your life. Additionally, whenever we blame another, we become entangled with their energy and stay entangled until we let go, and, consequently, we cannot grow beyond the parent we blame.

Of course, it’s no big surprise that forgiveness is the key to emotional freedom, but, in most cases, forgiveness is easier said than done. But why?

Why is forgiveness so difficult?

First, you must realize that blame, anger, and various related emotions are defensive guards that protect you from future harm. Since true forgiveness requires you to release this defense, the very act of forgiveness creates emotional risk. Therefore, to forgive your parents, you must trust they won’t hurt you again, but, the hard truth is, you can never be certain – there is no way to control or predict another person’s behavior, and sometimes loving people do hurtful things.

If you are still vulnerable to being hurt, forgiveness could destroy the only defense you have, and, if this is the case, your protective ego will not allow you to forgive. Therefore, before you can forgive, you must eliminate the risk of emotional harm, and this inevitably means self-responsibility.

Responsibility Before Forgiveness

There’s no way around it, as long as you blame or shift responsibility in any regard, you give others the power to hurt you, and as long as you give others the power to hurt you, you’re going to be hurt. Therefore, the only way to prevent emotional harm is by releasing blame and taking full responsibility for every emotion you experience, but there is no point assuming responsibility if you don’t also uncover the dynamics behind your childhood issues. Therefore, to make yourself immune to emotional harm, you must pinpoint the hidden cause of your childhood wounds, and once you do, I will show you how to heal it now.

Understanding the True Nature of Emotional Wounds

We often confuse an emotional wound with the event or experience that caused the wound, but the actual wound is not the situation or circumstance. An emotional wound is the disempowering belief we adopted in response to the experience. Without needing to analyze the details, the core emotional wound is virtually always unworthiness, and, in fact, unworthiness (or conditional worthiness) is the core wound of every other emotional wound.

All children have emotional needs that must be met to feel worthy of love and life; these needs include approval, acceptance, appreciation, understanding, validation, respect, etcetera. Although children require all emotional needs to be fulfilled, one emotional need almost always stands out from the rest, and because this is usually the need least met, it is the emotional need most associated with worth, and, as a result, it becomes the child’s Primary Emotional Need (PEN).

Children naturally adopt beliefs that explain why one or both parents fail to provide this emotional need, so when a child doesn’t receive approval, for example, the child naturally believes she is unworthy of approval, or more likely, she believes she must meet certain conditions to prove she is worthy. Hypersensitive to this need being met, she automatically interprets approval as proof of worthiness and judgment as proof of unworthiness, and this is why judgment can cause intense emotional pain even in adulthood.

Here’s the thing: like every human being, you were born unconditionally worthy, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to prove, improve, or disprove worth. Therefore the emotional pain associated with believing you are unworthy is due to the fact it is completely untrue! Emotional pain is a warning system that alerts you to false beliefs.

Why do we need to be warned of false beliefs?

All disempowering beliefs, such as unworthiness, powerlessness, and victimhood, put us into survival mode, and over time can cause chronic and acute issues with serious repercussions, and, therefore, we need a warning system that alerts us to debilitating beliefs. This warning system is emotion, and, in fact, the purpose of emotional pain is to alert you to the fact you believe a falsehood. Just like physical pain alerts you the second you prick your finger with a knife, so you won’t cut your whole finger off, emotional pain alerts you to harmful beliefs so you can release them.

Without knowing that emotional pain is a sign of a false belief, most of us wrongly interpret this pain; so whenever we feel the emotional pain associated with unworthiness, the pain makes us believe the belief is true, thereby strengthening the belief and deepening the wound, and this perpetuates a cycle of emotional pain.

Furthermore, this internal warning system will stop at nothing to make you aware of a false belief, and, in fact, with increasing amplification, you will attract continuous opportunities that trigger emotional pain until you finally pay attention and release the false belief that is responsible for the pain. All emotional healing is releasing disempowering beliefs.

Entangled in the conscious or unconscious belief that worth depends on getting our parents to meet our emotional needs, we grow into adults, still expecting one or both parents to give us what we need to feel worthy. But, this just sets us up for more pain because it never works.

Why don’t parents meet their children’s emotional needs?

First of all, even the most well-intentioned parents often fail to meet their children’s emotional needs, and, in most cases, emotional wounds have nothing to do with parental love. Oftentimes, childhood emotional wounds are by-products of parenting style or our parent’s unhealed wounds or family issues, such as financial challenges, divorce, or a family member’s addiction, disease, mental illness or chronic depression.

Although parental judgment, criticism, and comparison to siblings or other children are the most common causes of the worthiness wound, almost any dynamic can set the stage, for instance, when a parent is over-protective or over-controlling, a child may feel disrespected and develop the belief he is unworthy of respect, and he may conclude he is untrustworthy, or when a child is told to be seen but not heard, she may develop the belief she is not worthy to speak, or she may believe she is not important.

In most cases, a child’s emotional wounds deepen over time, and as the child matures into adulthood, the wound matures accordingly; manifesting as problematic relationships, financial concerns, career challenges, and health issues, while also making it difficult to pursue one’s dreams and desires.

Many adult children protect themselves from parental judgment and manipulation by closing their hearts and putting up energetic barriers, but despite the defensive quality of anger and blame, it doesn’t protect us from emotional pain because the shield actually keeps the pain inside while it also prevents healing. Regardless of age, every time your parents fail to meet your Primary Emotional Need, feelings of disappointment feed unworthiness and often lead to powerlessness.

The Unworthiness Wound Causes Powerlessness

Do you still need parental approval, acceptance, validation or permission to feel worthy? If so, do you conceal behaviors that don’t meet your parent’s expectations?

This dynamic is quite common in most adults but there is a huge cost involved because whenever you suppress authentic expression in exchange for approval or acceptance, for example, you inadvertently give away your power. In fact, it is impossible to expect your parents to meet your emotional needs and make you feel worthy without giving them your power.

Consequently, the relationship is based on dysfunctional dynamics where you remain a powerless child who is vulnerable to being hurt. Not only does this make you susceptible to parental judgment and criticism, it also makes you vulnerable to manipulation through guilt and obligation.

Although blame is a natural response to powerlessness, it actually tells your subconscious mind that the parent you are blaming has power over you, and, therefore, blame perpetuates more powerlessness. Indeed, you won’t be able to heal your emotional wounds or forgive your parents as long as you blame them for making you feel powerless and unworthy. This is why self-responsibility is the cure, and, in fact, self-responsibility is the only thing that can solve your issues.

Self-responsibility means that you must own your unconditional worth and you must take back your power by releasing the expectation that your parents meet any of your emotional needs, and this also includes releasing the need for apology, acknowledge, or retribution.

Give to yourself what you need from your parents!

As you take responsibility for your life and your choices, you must stop seeking parental permission and emotional support, and, in fact, you don’t even need your parents to believe in you or your dreams. The same reasons your parents didn’t meet your needs in childhood are the same reasons they still don’t. So you can let them off the hook and release all expectations!

Finally, when you know your unconditional worth, and you own your intrinsic power, your parents can’t hurt you emotionally, and, consequently, forgiveness becomes possible.

As dysfunctional dynamics dissolve, it gives way to a new paradigm of relationship based on unconditional worth and self-empowerment. The foundation of this deeper connection is clear boundaries, and, in fact, boundaries can take you from a powerless child to an empowered adult in a heartbeat. Indeed, your personal power is only as strong as your boundaries.

Boundaries are Key!

As an adult-child, it is up to you to set boundaries with your parents. Initially, it might feel uncomfortable, but, over time, strong boundaries will strengthen the relationship and allow for a deeper connection. So, to create a positive adult relationship with your parents, what boundaries do you need as an empowered adult?

Keep in mind, a boundary of respect, for example, is vague and you probably need to define the parameters of respect, so clearly and specifically spell it out in terms of communication and interaction. In all likelihood, you will need to teach your parents how to treat you, speak to you, and behave in ways that reflect respect. It’s also a good idea to invite your mom and dad to establish their boundaries and do your very best to honor them, as well.

Boundaries are set through intention but established with attention!

Effective boundaries require integrity, and this means that you must back-up every boundary with proper and consistent attention. Therefore, don’t expect your parents to automatically know when they are encroaching on a boundary. When people are used to behaving in habitual ways, it takes time to recognize new boundaries and reorganize new behavior accordingly. This means that it’s your responsibility to protect your boundaries, and, therefore, confidentially give clear feedback; tell your mom or dad when they are crossing (or about to cross) a boundary.

However, if either parent doesn’t respect your boundaries, don’t be afraid to limit interactions accordingly, but let them know why, so they have the necessary information to change their behavior. Believe it or not, most parents will eventually learn to respect boundaries, but only if you consistently enforce them first.

Reaping the Rewards

No matter how it seems, childhood wounds always leverage hidden gifts, such as independence, wisdom, or compassion, and without emotional challenges, our best attributes might never be revealed. If you haven’t yet recognized the positive qualities that sprung from your childhood wounds, now would be a wonderful time to do so because the recognition itself can be extremely healing. Indeed, the point is to heal the wounds but keep the benefits!

Finally, always remember that forgiveness is never for the person being forgiven. Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself.

Originally posted at Wake up World.

Negative emotions often grow within the mind and soul, poisoning your daily life.

Who has not said or done things in emotionally intense moments that has later regretted?

Emotions play a huge role in our lives because often our actions and behavior are subject to the orders of our emotional center and not our logic. But, when one reacts emotionally continuously without any filter of logic, when one reacts automatically based on his emotions or acts based on false messages that his emotions give him, this man suffers and complicates life unnecessarily,

Negative emotions, such as anger, jealousy, bitterness, frustration, despair, are often become uncontrollably and grow within the mind and soul of man, poisoning his daily life.

Is there a way one to be able to feel the full range of emotions but not carried by them, and without reacting with an excessive way that turns back to him like a boomerang?

Here are some ways to control your negative emotions and not let them controlling your life:

1. Wait before you react

Recognize your negative emotion (I now feel an intense wave of anger) and what caused it (because my child didn’t hear me and did another damage in the house). Take a few deep breaths saying to yourself “I have the control” to not spell out something that you will later regret. Once you feel that the wave of your intense negative emotion started to subside, think about how you want to respond or react.

2. Find an alternative positive reaction to control your negative emotions

Controlling your emotions doesn’t mean you stifle them. It is important to be able of expressing how you feel, but without losing control of yourself or the situation. Discover which way is best suited to calm down and regain your peace of mind: Do you like to talk to someone and analyze situations and emotions? Prefer to keep a calendar of events and emotions? Are you relieved by doing gym or choosing an intense activity like kickboxing or any martial art? Or do you prefer relaxation exercises like yoga or meditation? By finding which one suits you, in essence, you are creating a passage for discharging from negative emotions.

3. Replace your negative thoughts

Negative thoughts, pessimistic attitude, and generally, negative perspectives of people and situations lead to the generation of negative emotions. When you feel a negative emotion, try to find out what negative thought lies behind it. Then, try to replace this negative thought with a positive one or at least a more realistic thought. One way to stop the flow of negative thoughts is to think of a good image or a good memory and stay for a while on this.

Related: How the Words Change Your Brain

4. Look at things from another perspective

Instead of “stick” to a particular negative interpretation of what and why it happened, try to see the situation from another perspective. What are the alternative explanations? How someone you love or respect would see the same situation? What is the “message” of this situation, what it wants to teach you and how you can learn something new through this experience? Applying this technique will be able to settle the intensity of negative emotions and take advantage of the situation as an experience that teaches you something.

5. Forgive people or situations that triggered your negative emotion

The reason you became angry, jealous, get disappointed or any other negative emotion you felt could be your parents, your spouse, your child, a friendly or family member… or even can be your own self that gets you angry with his reactions! Forgive the person or the situation that cause your negative emotions. This way you get your emotional distance from the other person and you don’t allow them to regulate your own life. Finally, whatever someone did, the way you react to it, is your sole choice and responsibility. With forgiveness, you essentially allow yourself not to attach to the negative emotion and continue your life positively!

The article was originally created and published by boro.gr, and translated by Visual Meditation.

Read more articles related to emotions from Visual Meditation, by clicking HERE.

About the author

Liza Varvogli, MA, Ph.D., is a bilingual Harvard-trained psychologist, award-winning picture book author in her native Greece, and parenting seminar leader as well as parenting books author. After completing her internship and post-doctoral training at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospital, she returned to Greece where she opened a busy private practice and became an adjunct professor at the Medical School of Athens University, where she taught at the graduate program “Stress Management and Health Promotion”. Check her website varvogli.com and her blog greekpsychologypages.blogspot.gr.

Often we hear the term self-esteem. But, what does it mean?

Self-esteem is the acceptance of oneself in its wholeness, both of our strengths and positive characteristics and our negative traits and weaknesses. It is essentially the degree to which we value, respect and accept ourselves.

How Low Self-Esteem Develops?

Low self-esteem is a very common phenomenon and one of the main reasons one needs psychotherapy in order to strengthen it. It is largely determined by the experiences one had with familiar persons (parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.) from the beginning of his life.

When a baby begins to perceive that is no longer one with his mother, but a different entity, then begins to shape its self-image. This happens at about the first 12-18 months of his life and completed at the end of puberty.

If someone grows up in an environment where relationships with familiar persons are positive and empowering, the more likely it is to develop a positive self-image. Conversely, if indifference, lack of attention, affection, care, recognition and reward, comparisons, excessive expectations, disrespect, coldness, criticism, neglect, and condemnation dominate, the more likely it is that he will have a low self-esteem.

The lower self-esteem a child has, the easier it becomes an adolescent and then an adult with a negative image of himself. This happens because once this image has taken shape, the person tends to express it through his behavior into adulthood, thus accompanying in all aspects of his life, making his interpersonal relationships difficult.

Low self-esteem leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction with ourselves, a sense that we’re not entitled and not deserve to have a lot in life and in our relationships, feelings of disadvantage and inferiority, intense internal conflicts, sadness, unfulfilled needs and desires.

The self-image can be changed and it’s possible one to learn to love and respect himself and begin to see himself from another, more positive perspective.

Let’s see below in what ways one can improve his self-esteem:

1. Stop Comparisons

Do not enter the process of comparing yourself with others. Do not forget that every person is unique. The ideal is to compare yourself only with you and your accomplishments.

2. Be Realistic

Make sure you put realistic goals. Putting too high standards and unrealistic goals is the perfect way to experience frustration and disappointment. Divide each target to smaller ones. Once you conquer one, move on to the next.

3. Let Go of Perfectionism

Stop looking for and chasing perfection. Perfectionism can paralyze you from taking action because you become so afraid of not living up to some standard. And so, you procrastinate, you don’t get the results you expect, and your self-esteem lowers. Remember, the perfect does not exist and it is the enemy of confidence.

Watch: Stop Procrastination

4. Think About What You Are Proud Of

Devote every day 5-10 minutes to think about what you did in the day, and for which you feel proud of yourself. It may be something that seems very simple, however, it is significant (eg. you helped an elderly to cross the road, you collaborated very well with your colleagues etc.).

5. Learn from Your Mistakes

Do not feel bad if you do something wrong or fail on something. Mistakes are always instructive and valuable, and learning opportunities for growth and development. Learn from them and don’t give up!

6. Do the Things You Enjoy and You Are Good on Them

Sure you have talent on specific hobbies. Identify the things you enjoy doing and usually score well on them. This will give you an inner appreciation.

7. Avoid Negative People

Try to avoid people that through continuous sterile and negative criticism, devaluation and caustic comments cultivate doubts about yourself. Spend more time with supportive people that will make you feel comfortable, positive, and help you grow.

8. Do Something Positive for You

Reward and do often something positive for yourself. This may be a trip, a gift for yourself, doing an activity of your choice, such as going to a dance school or a gym.

After reading all these, you might think your own ways to improve your self-esteem. After all, you are the one who chooses which path you will follow in the course of your life. Psychotherapy also helps a lot to improve your self-esteem.

Also, through the journey of self-awareness, you have the opportunity to understand the obstacles that alienated you from yourself, the whys of your low self-esteem. Mostly, it depends on you!

H/T: marpscyhology.gr

We carry memories of our past experiences around with us like baggage. If we’re lucky, some of these memories bring us joy or laughter. But more often than not, we carry memories of negative, hurtful experiences.

New research suggests that humiliation is the strongest human emotion. Can you remember the last time you felt embarrassed? I certainly can. But carrying around negative emotions, especially those that accompany bad experiences, has a profound impact on how we act in the present.

Whether we realize that’s what we’re doing or not, this baggage can prevent us from moving forward in our personal and professional lives. It’s hard work to consciously try to rid ourselves of the emotions and sentiments that don’t serve us, but it’s worth the effort.

These are the four things entrepreneurs should try to rid themselves of:

1. Self-doubt

…is like the flu: At some point, we’re all going to have to endure it. Unfortunately, many of us experience self-doubt from a very early age. I’m not tall enough. I’m not good-looking enough. Maybe you were picked last in gym class. Maybe you weren’t. It doesn’t really matter. Even the most self-confident people are plagued by bouts of self-doubt. Just the other week, the cover story of The Atlantic discussed that even the most powerful, successful women feel like they’re inadequate — and maybe even imposters.

Self-doubt rears its ugly head in particular when we try new things. Maybe you think you’re not smart enough to break out on your own. Maybe you feel like you don’t have the right skills. It helps to acknowledge self-doubt for what it is. Call it out. Recognize it. Don’t be afraid of it. Once you acknowledge that’s what you’re feeling, it has less power over you. Self-doubt is just a feeling: You can still act even if you feel it. Ask for help. Better still, consciously try to abandon memories that made you feel less than. They’re holding you back from doing your best.

2. What’s “appropriate” for your age

Your state of mind is so much more important than your biological age. I firmly believe there’s no such thing as being “too old” or “too young” when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Don’t let memories of others judging you for your age hold you back. Those people are just projecting their own insecurities. Be inspired by people for whom age is nothing but a number — because really, that’s all it is.

Watch: Be a Successful Entrepreneur

3. Your fear of the unknown

In my experience, situations never turn out quite like I spent time thinking they might. We carry around fear of the unknown so tightly. It doesn’t make much sense to me. How can we be afraid of what we do not know? Many people spend so much time trying to predict or control the future that they don’t do anything at all. What are you waiting for? We don’t have control over what happens, but we do have control over our emotions. Choose to be brave and feel good. Have the courage to take the first step. It’s just one!

4. Your accomplishments

I see it all the time. Yes, you did that! But you can’t stop now. Entrepreneurship is not for those who want to rest on their laurels. You will achieve so much more if you greet every day like the new day that it is. No one cares about what you did. They want to see and know what you’re capable of now. What did you achieve today? What opportunities did you seek out? Live in the present. Even carrying around the memories of your accomplishments can prevent you from moving forward if you hold on to them too tightly.

What other feelings could hold you back from achieving your highest potential? Share your thoughts below!

Original source: Entrepreneur

About the author

Stephen Key is an inventor, author, speaker and co-founder of InventRight, LLC., a Glenbrook, Nev.-based company that educates entrepreneurs in how to bring ideas to market.